In an article published on June 1, 2017 by the newspaper The New York Times, op-ed contributor Frederica Perera discussed children’s exposure to toxic chemicals, starting already in their mothers’ womb. “We now know that a host of chemicals, pollutants and viruses readily travel across the placenta from mother to fetus, pre-polluting or pre-infecting a baby even before birth,” Perera explained. This is of concern because toxic exposures “can derail the intricate molecular processes involved in a fetus’ healthy brain development.” Various toxic chemicals, including pesticides, flame retardants, combustion-related air pollutants, lead, mercury, and plasticizers have been measured in pregnant women and in cord blood of newborns, Perera illustrated.
“A notable increase in developmental problems in children worldwide has paralleled the proliferation of synthetic chemicals in our air, water, food and consumer products and the mounting impacts of climate change,” she further reported. However, “such tragic and costly consequences are preventable,” Perera reminded, highlighting that “the benefits of policies to reduce toxic exposures have been clearly demonstrated.” To solve the problem “resulting from lack of adequate government regulation requiring testing of chemicals before they are marketed, and from the failure to take prompt action once there is scientific evidence of harm,” she calls on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “to act promptly to eliminate known brain-damaging chemicals.”
Frederica Perera (June 1, 2017). “The womb is no protection from toxic chemicals.” The New York Times